Your browser (Internet Explorer 7 or lower) is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites. Learn how to update your browser.


Read All About It: Enrollment vs. Retention?

This week at Inside Higher Ed, has the No Child Left Behind legislation created students who are unable to manage post-secondary work? And when an institution tries to bump up completion rates, the enrollment rate goes down.

WARNINGS FROM THE TRENCHES: Professors rally behind a high school teacher who says No Child Left Behind has created a generation of test-takers unprepared for higher education:

THE ‘I’ IN FIU: Florida International University has embarked on an ambitious effort to internationalize the curriculum and assess students’ global learning.

COMPROMISED POSITION: Emory president praises Constitution’s three-fifths compromise as model for dealing with disagreements today. Facing outrage, he apologizes for “clumsiness and insensitivity.”

TWICE AS MANY MOOCS: Coursera and edX both double in size and look for larger international audiences.

BITING THE BULLET ON COMPLETION: A community college tries to boost its completion rate, but takes a 20 percent enrollment hit in the process.

Read All About It

This week at Inside HigherEd, moving away from need-blind admissions, and looking into why Chinese students choose certain institutions for international study.

ASIANS AND AFFIRMATIVE ACTION: Asian-American groups urge Supreme Court to bar race-conscious admissions, renewing debate over the impact of such policies.

NEED TOO MUCH: Wesleyan University is moving away from need-blind admissions, saying that keeping the policy would require too much money and impose too much debt on some students.

BACK OF THE LINE: Some California community colleges have 1,700 students per academic adviser. But a state law designed to protect faculty jobs may help prevent the hiring of more counselors.

TEST FOR FUTURE FINANCIERS: Leading banks and finance companies are screening candidates with a standardized test, which supporters say allows for a deeper hiring pool and the evaluation of practical skills.

WHAT CHINESE STUDENTS WANT: Experts offer insight into why Chinese students choose the universities that they do, what they can pay, and what their English levels are really like.


Read All About It

This week at Inside HigherEd, crafting child-protection policies is even more complicated than expected.

SCORE ONE FOR THE ROBO-TUTORS: In a study spanning six public universities, students taught statistics mainly through software learned as much as peers taught primarily by humans. And the robots got the job done quicker.

LESSONS FROM A SCANDAL: Many institutions are creating new child protection policies and reporting procedures in response to sexual abuse allegations at Penn State University, and they’re discovering that the issues are complex.

THE FINAL FRONTIER: Phoenix and Denver are the latest (and possibly last) recruiting hotbeds for liberal arts colleges. Administrators now worry that they’re running out of marketing moves.

ROMNEY’S HIGHER ED PLATFORM: The presumptive Republican nominee proposes loosening regulations on for-profit colleges, returning to bank-based student lending and consolidating federal grant programs.

WHEN NON-SUBMITTERS ARE THE NORM: At Pitzer College, unlike most institutions that have gone SAT-optional, most applicants have stopped sending their test scores.


Read All About It

This week at Inside HigherEd: Debt in detail, and a “lifestyle statement” that has caused faculty and staff to resign rather than sign. Read more.

WHAT WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT DEBT:  Despite growing concern over loan burdens, some key data points remain completely unclear — including how much students borrow, on average, at specific colleges.

SOME LEEWAY, SOME LIMITS: In landmark ruling, federal judge rejects most arguments made by publishers in suit against Georgia State over e-reserves. But she also imposes some rules that could complicate life for librarians and professors.

OUT-OF-OFFICE OFFICE HOURS: San Antonio College debates proposal that would allow professors to move half of their 10 required hours online. Proponents say it’s next logical step in digital revolution, while critics fear reduction in student contact.

PLAYOFF POLITICS: A college football playoff looks more likely than ever. As details develop, exactly what that will mean — for athletes, sports finances, universities and their presidents, and the NCAA — remains to be seen.

REFUSING TO SIGN: Facing a new “lifestyle statement” at Shorter University, many faculty and staff have chosen to resign instead. One has spoken out publicly.


Read All About It

How much should Catholic dogma affect Catholic colleges’ policies? Should student loans live on and on? These and more questions are considered at Inside HigherEd this week.

SHOULD DEBT OUTLIVE A STUDENT? KeyBank, an outlier in the lending industry, for years required the co-signing parent of one dead student to make payments on $50,000 of debt. The bank acquiesced after an online petition went viral:

YOU COULD STILL QUALIFY! Study turns up mixed reviews in the effectiveness of the CARD Act of 2009, parts of which were intended to protect students from aggressive marketing by credit card companies, on and off campus.

HOW CATHOLIC? Several colleges have seen heightened tensions in recent months over how much church teachings should dictate college policies.

DIFFERENT COURSE, DIFFERENT PRICE: Lone Star College has begun charging varying rates for courses systemwide, based on cost of delivery, and plans to add student success incentives, some of them financial.

TIDE SHIFTS ON TITLE IX: In perhaps the biggest campus change yet from a federal push for more accountability on sexual harassment allegations, North Carolina decides its unique student-run court is not fit for such hearings.


Read All About It

Welcome to a new week of Inside HigherEd headlines. This time: Professors report more troubled students to mental health centers, and Texas technical colleges offer to link their graduates’ post-college success linked to state funding.

NO LONGER AFRAID TO CONSULT: Five years after the tragic killings at Virginia Tech, counseling centers report that they are much more likely than in the past to hear from professors who are worried about a student.

WELCOME TO THE PARTY: Less-elite liberal arts colleges, which have struggled with demographic and economic change for years, think they have something to teach the elites, who are starting to consider those issues.

BANKING ON SUCCESS: Texas technical colleges want to link 45 percent of their state funds to the employment success of graduates.

FUDGED NUMBERS: Claremont McKenna didn’t just report inaccurate SAT averages; the college inflated class ranks and deflated admissions rates. The motive wasn’t rankings, but a desire to admit a few more students without absolutely top academic credentials.

A TEXTBOOK CASE: Supreme Court will decide on whether less expensive, foreign-made editions of textbooks can be lawfully sold to thrifty U.S. students.


Read All About It

Welcome to a new week of Inside HigherEd!  This week, the disquieting news that more time in college means students are less likely to concern themselves with the Other; and liberal arts colleges consider themselves at a crossroads.

BACKWARDS ON RACIAL UNDERSTANDING: The longer students are in college,
the less likely they are to be interested in promoting understanding
across lines of race and ethnicity, study finds.

THE LIBERAL ARTS AND CAREERS: Conference considers the question of
whether institutions focused on a broad definition of learning can
also embrace the idea of training students for the job market.

EVERYBODY’S WORRIED NOW: At a conference this week, it is clear that
elite liberal arts colleges are concerned about the future, and silver
bullets are hard to find.

A WIN FOR THE ROBO-READERS: In the most comprehensive review to date
of automated essay grading software, U. of Akron researchers find
little difference between grades of robot and human readers.

SHUTTING OUT HOMETOWN APPLICANTS: San Jose State University gets more
selective for local students, citing budget cuts and enrollment
pressure, while 15 other Cal State campuses are at least partially

Read All About It

This week over at Inside HigherEd, a NACUBO survey shows interesting trends concerning discounts and enrollments and legislators debate whether non-credit remedial courses exist at all, in addition to other news we know you use. Have a great week!

DISCOUNTING HEADS:  NACUBO’s survey of discount rates finds another increase, but a surprising enrollment drop at many private institutions could be a threat to balanced budgets.

A CORE QUESTION: A trustee’s critical column in Columbia’s student paper challenges the notion that private university trustees should speak with a unified voice.

THE MITx FACTOR: Several weeks into MIT’s massive open online teaching experiment, faculty ponder how it could change the university.

DON’T TOUCH MY TEXTBOOK: A Texas community college district wants to save money for students by selecting common materials for each course. Faculty object, saying their teaching role is being diminished.

HOW TO END REMEDIATION: Connecticut lawmakers want to eliminate all non-credit remedial courses. While a compromise is likely to emerge, the state’s approach is seen as visionary by some, foolish by others.


Read All About It

This week over at Inside HigherEd, fall-out and follow-up on the Clementi case as well as stories on student health and student funding.

BEYOND AWKWARD SILENCE: The Clementi case shone a national spotlight on cyberbullying. But it also showed what can happen in the most extreme situations of poor communication between roommates:

NEW RULES FOR HEALTH PLANS: Religious colleges will have to offer free contraception on student health plans under new regulations that also eliminate benefit caps:

STREP THROAT AND BEER: No matter if they have a cough or sprain, students are being quizzed by colleges about their alcohol consumption. Health officials say it’s a way to target risky behavior, but some students are peeved:

WAIT, ISN’T THIS THE NEW NORMAL? Big tuition hikes at elite private institutions contradict the notion that colleges are focusing on reining in sticker price to make education affordable:

NO DIPLOMA, NO GED, NO AID: High school dropouts used to be able to qualify for federal grants and loans based on a basic skills test. That ends in July, and community colleges are worried about what will happen to these students:

Read All About It

This week over at Inside HigherEd, dissecting cheaters (and not taking any shortcuts to do it) and mental health counseling has improved but still has improvements to go.

THE COMPLICATIONS OF COUNSELING: Staff see some improvements in the state of counseling centers and the students they treat, but struggle to deal with core issues.

WHO CHEATS AND WHY: Study at a large university identifies which students are most likely to break the academic rules, and suggests theories on how faculty can fight back. For many students, cheating isn’t a big deal if it’s on homework.

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU: Austin Peay University says its new automated advising engine can look at a student’s proposed schedule and predict her semester GPA within two hundredths of a point.

KICKSTARTING STUDENT PROJECTS: Cash-poor students and organizations turn to popular crowdfunding site to fund-raise for projects that institutional sources are unable or unwilling to bankroll.

MARCH MADNESS FOR ACADEMICS: Who would win the NCAA men’s basketball tournament if it were based on classroom performance? It’s not who you might think.


Verdict in Dharun Ravi’s Trial

By now you’ve heard about the verdict in Dharun Ravi’s trial: he was convicted of intimidation bias, invasion of privacy, and tampering with evidence. Do you think this is the correct outcome? I’ve read a couple articles on this tragic incident which were very thought-provoking, so I’ll re-post them here for your perusal.

I appreciated this commentary by Dan Savage (yup, the dude from the sex advice column, Savage Love), which he re-linked from his Twitter account in light of the verdict. Basically, Savage feels Ravi is bearing the burden of our society’s issues with sexual orientation. It’s not that Ravi’s behavior wasn’t self-centered and reprehensible, but he’s a product of the society in which he lives.

This New Yorker article on Tyler Clementi and Dharun Ravi is lengthy (it’s a New Yorker article, after all) but it’s incredibly insightful (again, it’s a New Yorker article) and ultimately heart-breaking. This piece seems to point the finger at a lack of communication between the roommates; they scarcely exchanged five sentences during their time together. Instead, Ravi and Clementi Googled each other, made assumptions, and never got to know each other as whole human beings; just “types.”

I think both of these articles have an element of truth; the thesis of one doesn’t cancel out the other. What do you think? Have you seen other thoughtful commentaries?

Read All About It

If college students have to pay more for birth control, will they be celibate? (Not much.) This and other mysteries solved, this week at Inside HigherEd.

CONCERNS ABOUT SPORTS, BACKING FOR OBAMA: Results from Inside Higher Ed’s survey of 1,000-plus college presidents.

LESS COVERAGE, LESS CONTRACEPTION: Would students change sexual behavior if they had to pay more for birth control? The research says they would, but don’t look for a wave of celibacy.

SANTORUM AND HIGHER ED: He questions whether higher ed is necessary for everyone, and calls colleges godless, but in the Senate, the candidate had a history of supporting colleges.

CAL STATE’S ONLINE PLAN: The nation’s largest university moves to embrace distance ed, hoping to solve growing capacity issues. Some faculty are dubious.

AN LMS FOR ELITE MOOCs? Two Stanford professors spin off their experiments with massively open online courses (MOOCs) into a company that could serve as a platform for similar projects.


Read All About It

Hello, and welcome to another week, and piping-hot Inside HigherEd headlines. This batch includes: Presidential candidates’ have “It’s complicated” relationships with post-secondary education; there are more transfer students than you might think, and many are transferring to community colleges; and mental health counselors face dilemmas regarding when to inform parents that their college-age child is suicidal.

ROMNEY AND HIGHER ED: So far, the Republican front-runner has said little about colleges. But as governor, he quarreled with the UMass president, and more recently he has praised for-profit colleges.

SANTORUM’S ATTACKS ON HIGHER ED: Republican candidate repeats claim that Obama is “snob” for wanting all Americans to go to college, but in 2006 he seemed to endorse the same idea. And in 2008, he said Satan had his greatest success in academe.

SAME NUMBERS, NEW CALCULATIONS: Mount Holyoke joins a short — but longer than usual — list of colleges to freeze tuition. Moves could signal awareness of a limit to families’ willingness to pay high sticker prices.

INVISIBLE TRANSFER STUDENTS: New study finds that one-third of students attend at least two colleges. Their most common transfer destination: community colleges.

WHEN TO TELL: For counselors, knowing whether to inform parents that their child might be suicidal is hard, and — following a handful of recent developments — getting harder.



Read All About It

This week at Inside Higher Ed: One way to improve community college students’ use of academic assistance (and thus their colligate success)? Make it a requirement. This and other stories; check them out!

IS IT BIAS? IS IT LEGAL? Conventional wisdom says Asian-American applicants face higher hurdle than others at elite colleges. Federal probe raises question of whether differential standards can be proven and — if so — would violate the law.

NO MONEY DOWN! Proposal being weighed by University of California to shift student payments to after graduation and tie them to income would be a dramatic change in how education is financed.

BIG DATA’S ARRIVAL: An ambitious research project is proving the payoffs of predictive analytics in higher ed, and early findings overturn conventional wisdom about student success.

‘GAINFUL’ COMES TO NONPROFITS: President Obama lays out details for his plan to hold colleges accountable for rising prices, with ramifications beyond the election this fall.

MAKE IT MANDATORY? New study finds that community college students often don’t take advantage of academic support that could help get them to graduation. The solution may be to make those offerings required.


The Month In News

Every month, I collect news stories that mentioned ACUHO-I, a member, the student housing industry, or college students and college life in general. I provide this list of citations as a part of the Central Office’s report to the Executive Board each month.

Ian Parker, The Story of a Suicide, The New Yorker, February 6, 2012.
Parker details Dharun Ravi and Tyler Clementi’s brief period as roommates at Rutgers, including, as housing professionals are all-too-familiar with, online “spying”, brief texting and very little in-person communication. Parker delves into how each young man perceived himself, his online persona, and his roommate. This is a tragic, heartbreaking story of isolation, mis-understanding, and a complete lack of communication.

Richard Pérez-Peña & Daniel E. Slotnik, Gaming the College Rankings, The New York Times, January 31, 2012.
In the frenetic atmosphere created by the U.S. News and World Report college rankings, some institutions hedged their numbers, or tweaked their reporting in hopes of listing higher.

OSU Research Communications, Study: Off-Campus College Party Hosts Drink More Than Attendees, January 24, 2012.
The hostests drink the mostest (or the hosts drink the most), according to researcher Dr. Cynthia Buettner. An online survey of 3,796 students during two academic years showed that at least 10 % of students on a campus are hosting a party any given weekend. Hosts tend to be male, Greeks, in their second year or higher of college, living off-campus, and have more spending money than their peers.

Ronda Kaysen, Public College, Private Dorm, The New York Times, January 24, 2012.
The NYT reports on public institutions that are working with private contractors to build and finance housing, and sometimes to maintain and manage it too. This is nothing new for our blog readers, but it offers the perspective of non-higher-ed folks.

Serena Golden, Common Reading, Common Ground, Inside HigherEd, January 11, 2012.
A Modern Language Association panel discussed “freshman reads” and their critics. Many departments want to have an influence on freshman read; it has become a commodity for those who wish to instruct students or make a statement about the institution.

Eyder Peralta, Georgia Will Merge Eight Colleges to Save Money, NPR The Two-Way News Blog, January 10, 2012.
Four institutions will be formed out of what is now eight in Georgia, according to the state’s board of regents. Will this be an economizing trend in other states?

Amy Harmon, Navigating Love and Autism, The New York Times, December 26, 2011.
A sweet, honest story about a college student couple, who both have Asperger’s Syndrome, and how they’ve managed their relationship. Enjoyable for anyone to read, but especially for members who are particularly involved in efforts to welcome students with Asperger’s or autism to campus.